DBusiness Daily Update: Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Prepares New Programming for Holiday Season, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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The holiday season begins Nov. 18 at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. // Courtesy of The Ford House
The holiday season begins Nov. 18 at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. // Courtesy of The Ford House

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Prepares New Programming for Holiday Season

The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores will be celebrating the holiday season with a series of events, encouraging family fun, and heartfelt memories with various Christmas activities for the entire family.

The Christmas light-covered trees, crackling fireplace, and cotton candy-like snow make this time of year special to enjoy the holiday season at Ford House. Families are invited to partake in this seasons’ special events: Cookies with Santa, Holiday Tea and Tour, Breakfast with Santa, and Mistletoe Mingle.

“Outside of our ongoing Ford House Christmas tours, the Ford House invites the whole family to enjoy the special holiday moments we are providing every week of December,” says Mary Ann Bauman, manager of communications and engagement at the Ford House. “From sharing sweet treats with Santa to exploring the historic, majestically decorated Ford home, we are excited to create as many memories as we can with our guests.

“This is the time of year when we can expect the entire family to participate and walk away feeling as jolly as Santa.”

Tickets are on sale now for the following holiday events:

  • Ford House Christmas Tours, every half hour between 5:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 18-Dec. 30.
  • Drop–in Studio: Holiday Cards, starting at 10 a.m., Dec. 3.
  • Cookies with Santa, 2-7 p.m., Dec. 3-17.
  • Holiday Tea and Tour, noon, Dec. 8 and Dec. 22.
  • Breakfast with Santa, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Dec. 11 and Dec. 18.
  • Mistletoe Mingle, 7-10 p.m., Dec. 15 and Dec. 29.

For more information and tickets, visit here.

XL Fleet in Wixom to Rename as Spruce Power

XL Fleet Corp., a Wixom-based provider of subscription-based services that assist homeowners and small businesses own and maintain rooftop solar and battery storage, today announced it will change its corporate name to Spruce Power Holding Corp., effective Nov. 14.

Additionally, the company will change its NYSE ticker symbol from “XL” to “SPRU” at the open of market trading on Nov. 14.

XL Fleet acquired Spruce Power in September for approximately $58 million.

“We are excited to execute on the next stage of our new corporate strategy with the official change of our company name,” says Eric Tech, current CEO of XL Fleet. “Renaming our company to Spruce Power reflects our new focus on the residential solar and energy services market. Most importantly, it positions us to build upon the strong brand recognition that Spruce has earned in the residential solar market since 2018.”

Christian Fong, president of Spruce Power, says: “Transitioning the Spruce Power name to our new public platform is an exciting achievement for our company. Our new platform affords us the resources needed to elevate our company’s mission to a next level, and this change is only the beginning.”

It is expected that Fong will be named CEO of the combined companies in the first quarter of 2023.

For additional information, visit sprucepower.com.

Forbes Identifies Michigan as State with Lowest Health Care Costs

Research by the Forbes Advisor team analyzed 11 key metrics using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and found that Michigan ranks No. 1 among the least expensive states for health care.

Residents in the Great Lakes State with employer-provided health insurance pay some of the lowest premiums and deductibles in the nation. The average employee with a family plan pays an annual premium of $4,199.67 (the lowest amount nationwide) and has a deductible of $3,078.67 (the third lowest amount).

Other states with low health care costs include:

Washington: The average Washington employee with single health insurance coverage pays an annual premium of $1,139.67 (the third lowest amount nationwide), employees with plus one coverage pay $3,388.67 (the second lowest amount) and those with a family plan pay $5,121.67 (the second lowest amount).

Nevada: The Silver State ranked fourth in the nation for lowest health care costs per person, with health care costs averaging $8,118 per year in Nevada. Additionally, the state had the third lowest increase in health care spending per person over a five-year period (13.16 percent).

Hawaii: Adults in the Aloha State were least likely in the nation to report skipping a doctor’s visit in the past 12 months due to cost (7.10 percent). Hawaiians with employer-provided single health insurance coverage also pay the lowest average premiums in the country ($846.67) and have the lowest deductibles ($1,280.67).

New Mexico: New Mexican adults were fourth least likely to report an unmet need for mental health treatment in the past year due to cost, and New Mexico residents with individual health plans from the Affordable Care Act marketplace pay the fifth lowest annual premium in the nation ($4,096).

At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota tops the list of states where health care is most expensive, followed by Louisiana, West Virginia, Florida, and Wyoming.

Visit here to review the full report.

City of Detroit Unemployment Rate Matches 20-year Low at 7%

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7 percent, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September 2022 Employment Data Report, down from 7.9 percent in August of this year, and from 12.5 percent a yar ago.

This matches the lowest rate the city has seen since September 2000 and is attributed to continued development and investment in the city and its workforce.

“If you listen to what people are saying across the country, many say the U.S. is on the brink of a recession,” Duggan says. “If you look at what’s happening here in Detroit, that is simply not the case. Here in Detroit, we create opportunity for our residents by removing barriers to employment. While there is still work to be done, we are thrilled to see this level of unemployment among our residents.”

At the height of the COVID pandemic in May of 2020, Detroit’s unemployment rate spiked to more than 38 percent. In an August 2021 study, University of Michigan’s Economic Forecast report predicted the city’s unemployment would drop to 6.9 percent by 2026.

Detroit at Work, the city of Detroit’s workforce development ecosystem, works to create career opportunities for Detroiters at all levels of education, experience, and skills, and to give employers access to a highly qualified talent pipeline. Since January of this year, Detroit at Work has conducted job fairs, with more than 10,738 people in attendance.

Traverse City Whiskey Co. Expands, Adds Nearly 100 New Jobs

Traverse City Whiskey Co. (TCWC), a Traverse City-based distiller of bourbon and whiskey and producer of premium cocktail cherry garnishes, is expanding in Traverse City with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of approximately $20 million and create nearly 100 jobs, supported by a $750,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over a competing site in Michigan City, Ind.

“Michigan’s craft beverage industry is on the grow,” says Jenelle Jagmin, executive director, Michigan Craft Beverage Council. “Businesses like Traverse City Distillery directly contribute to economic development and jobs creation with our local communities while creating markets for our farmers.”

TCWC began operating in 2012, when it established its first distillery and bottling plant in downtown Traverse City and produced straight bourbon and cherry whiskey that have become top selling craft whiskeys statewide.

At its current facility in Traverse City, the company operates the Stillhouse tasting room that has become a popular destination for tens of thousands of area residents and visitors each year. In 2018, TCWC introduced its premium cocktail cherries, which have grown to be the leading premium cocktail cherry nationally, sold in all 50 states. In 2019, it opened its first tasting room in metro Detroit: The Outpost in Ferndale. TCWC currently employs 45 Michigan residents.

Once the facility nears completion, information on careers with TCWC will be available here.

Southfield’s Denso and Three Partners Break Ground for Tennessee Solar Facility

Denso, a mobility supplier based in Southfield, and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers, have broken ground on a new solar facility at Denso’s Maryville, Tenn. location, along with the City of Maryville Electric Department and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The new solar farm is the first of four solar production facilities the group plans to bring online in Tennessee. Harnessing solar power helps Denso advance its Two Great Causes: Green — achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 — and Peace of Mind — creating a safe and seamless world for all; strengthen its involvement in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants program; and bolster broader efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing operations and energy use.

When the solar projects are completed and coupled with additional energy conservation initiatives, 100 percent of electrical needs for Denso’s Maryville facility will be sourced from renewable energy. This will help the Maryville location, which is a manufacturing hub for Denso electrification and safety systems, support greater sustainability locally through its operations and across North America with its products.

Priority Health Partners to Help Members Stay on Top of Their Health

Priority Health in Southfield is partnering with Pittsburgh’s Abridge, whose mission is to encourage understanding and follow-through across every medical conversation, to help all Individual Medicare Advantage and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) members follow through on their care plans.

“We want to make it easier for our members to take action in their personal health journey by providing the necessary tools and resources,” says Scott Norman, vice president of Medicare at Priority Health. “Abridge is a vital component of our programs designed to keep members healthy. Our partnership will support our longstanding commitment to bring our members innovative benefits that will help drive better individual health outcomes.”

The introduction of the Abridge app helps members remember the details of medical care catch-up. Abridge helps family members stay on the same page on any care plans, even if they are unable to attend appointments in person. Technology is a vital link in helping people attend visits independently while keeping family in the loop about the next steps of care.

Abridge creates an interactive transcript of the medical parts of the conversation so members can quickly review the high-level care plan down to the details of diagnoses, medications, treatments, and follow ups. Additionally, Abridge works with trusted partners to define medical terms, helping people better understand their care plans.

Nemeth Bonnette Brouwer is New Name for Nemeth Law

Nemeth Bonnette Brouwer is the new name of the Detroit-based management-side labor and employment law firm formerly known as Nemeth Law.

The firm is dedicated solely to working with employers to prevent, resolve, and litigate labor and employment disputes. The name change was announced by managing partner and firm co-owner Deborah Brouwer and is effective immediately.

The firm was founded 30 years ago by Patricia Nemeth as the Law Offices of Patricia Nemeth. In January 2020, the firm was purchased from Nemeth by her firm partners Terry Bonnette and Deborah Brouwer. Nemeth remains of counsel to the firm.

“Our name has changed, but our commitment to providing high quality legal services to our clients with integrity and trustworthiness is foundational – and as strong as ever,” Brouwer says.

Dearborn Area Chamber to Host Executive Beer Tasting Nov. 10

Beer aficionados will have the opportunity to sample some of the area’s finest local offerings, as the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce teams up with presenting sponsor Les Stanford Chevrolet and Cadillac and menu sponsor Beaumont Health for the annual Chamber Executive Beer Tasting.

Hosted by The Henry Autograph Collection Hotel in Dearborn, the No. 10 event will feature craft beer offerings from Dearborn brewers Downey Brewing Co., Dearborn Brewing, and The Jolly Pumpkin, along with Waterford Township’s Rustic Leaf Brewing Co. In addition, the Henry’s chefs have a custom menu to be paired with each craft brew to round out the evening’s offerings.

Advance tickets are available for $55 by registering here or by calling 313-584-6100. Tickets also will be available at the door for $60. The event will run from 5-8 p.m.

Michigan Science Center Offers Ford Free Playful Learning Weekend Nov. 12-13

The Michigan Science Center (Mi-Sci) will open its doors for free to the public Nov. 12-13 for the Ford Free Playful Learning Weekend.

Mi-Sci will host a variety of playful learning activities including Build the Change and special experiences in Spark!Lab and on the Science Stage. This event, sponsored by Ford Motor Co. Fund, is part of Mi-Sci’s participation in the Playful Learning Network and LEGO’s Learning Through Play initiative.

“We are grateful to Ford Motor Co. Fund for supporting a free weekend aimed at increasing access for children and families in our community and themed around the concept of learning through play,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. “In partnership with The LEGO Foundation, Mi-Sci regularly participates in a collaborative network of professionals, caregivers, and organizations dedicated to elevating the value and impact of playful learning across the country and throughout the world. We want our local community to be included in this global movement.”

While tickets are free, visitors are encouraged to make reservations in advance to attend the Ford Free Playful Learning Weekend here.

Higher Hopes! Continues Thanksgiving Meal Program

For the 9th year in a row, Detroit-based Higher Hopes! will be providing 1,000 Detroit area families full Thanksgiving meals through its “1,000 Turkeys, 10,000 Smiles” program.

The kits contain everything from a turkey to all the sides and dessert, and provide enough food to feed 12 to 16 people. This year, participating families will be given a $50 gas card to help alleviate the problems caused by rising gas prices.

In 2021 Higher Hopes! was able to provide 400 families with gas cards, but after seeing what a difference it made, the decision was made to ensure all 1,000 families would receive this benefit in 2022.

In addition to the Thanksgiving meal program, Higher Hopes! continues to support 1,000 families with monthly meal kits, each containing 35-45 pounds of fresh, nutritious foods. These go to families who have children enrolled in Early Head Start Child Care Programs. The kits contain proteins such as chicken, pork, or beef, fresh, frozen, canned fruits and vegetables, grains like pasta and cereal, milk, eggs, fruit juice, and more.

Corporate and individual contributions are always welcome and can be made at higherhopesdetroit.org.

Holocaust Center to Celebrate Anniversary Huntington Place Nov. 13

The Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills is hosting its 38th Anniversary Benefit Nov. 13 at Huntington Place in Detroit.

This year’s fundraiser honors Nancy and Arn Tellem and their contributions to the Detroit business and philanthropic communities. The evening’s keynote speaker is Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meachem. The Detroit Youth Choir also will give a performance.

“The involvement and support of the Tellems for the HC and many local civic and cultural organizations reflect a passion and commitment to the continued growth and revitalization of the Detroit area,” says Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of the Zekelman Holocaust Center. “We are proud to recognize these caring community leaders for their activism, philanthropy and support for many nonprofit and executive boards in the region.”

Registration is required. For tickets or more information, call 248-536-9601 or visit here.

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